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Monday 5 December 2016

Iker Casillas fights back the tears as he leaves Real after 25 years

Departing Real Madrid captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas cries as he tries to read a statement at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, July 12, 2015. Casillas left Real Madrid on Saturday after 16 seasons as an iconic figure at the Bernabeu to take on a new challenge at former European champions Porto. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
Departing Real Madrid captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas cries as he tries to read a statement at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, July 12, 2015. Casillas left Real Madrid on Saturday after 16 seasons as an iconic figure at the Bernabeu to take on a new challenge at former European champions Porto. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

Iker Casillas said an emotional goodbye to Real Madrid yesterday as he prepared to move to Porto after 25 years at the Bernabeu.

The goalkeeper joined Real’s youth academy in 1990 and has been with the club ever since, making 725 appearances and winning 17 major honours in that time.

The 34-year-old was a high-profile casualty of Jose Mourinho’s reign at Real but returned to the side after the Portuguese left for Chelsea, winning the Champions League for a third time in 2014.

“After 25 years of defending the crest of the world’s greatest football team, a difficult day has arrived in my sporting career,” he said after fighting back the tears.

“It seems like only yesterday when as a nine-year-old I put on the Real Madrid jersey for the first time and my dream came true.

“The decision to join Porto boils down to two important reasons: firstly, the excitement conveyed to me by the president, the director Antero (Henrique) and the manager Julen (Lopetegui),” he said.

“And secondly, for the affection shown to me since it more or less became known that Portugal was to be my destination. And in that respect, they have won me over and that makes me very happy.”

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